Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friendships that move on

Ya know how it was when you were a kid and you'd hang out with your friend and you didn't hafta do much.

Maybe just read Archie comic books together. Or watch tv. Or hop on pogo sticks. Or listen to records or go on bike rides through the neighborhood. Or wander down to the creek to catch crawdads or pretend you were stranded on the island just like Gilligan and the gang.

I have a friend who I did just that with.

No penciling in on my calendar weeks in advance. He was my automatic friend. My automatically be there friend.

"Hi! Ya wanna hang out? it's such a beautiful day!"

"Sure! You wanna go on a picnic?" He'd say.

"Yes! I'd love that!"

"I'll pick up some snacks... see you in about 15 minutes!"

"whatcha doin'?"
He'd ask.

"Oh, "
I'd say, "I'm thinkin' of painting my gutters..."
"Ya need some help? I'll be right over and bring my ladder!"

"That's great! See ya when ya get here!"

"Hey what are you doing tomorrow?" He'd ask.
"Not sure. What are you doin'?"
"Ya wanna go to the A's game? We can barbecue there in the parking lot before the game!"
"Sure! That'll be fun! Let me know what I should bring!"

We had an easy, spontaneous, always ready friendship. We hung out together a lot and all the time.

"Ya wanna come over and watch LOST?"

"I'll be right over."

"Hey! I wanna go on a walk, ya wanna join me?"

"Sure! I'll see you in five minutes!"

Such an easy friend to say yes to. And now he is gone.

He moved away two weeks ago. Three hundred long miles away.

This morning I needed to pick up dirt to fill up sink holes in my backyard. Normally, I'd call my friend, "Hey! Whatcha doin? Ya wanna help me bring in some dirt?"

He'd say, "Sure! See ya there!" And he'd drive up in his truck and we'd haul that dirt out to my backyard.

But this time he wasn't there.

The air felt so empty.

The day felt longer than it used to feel.

I called up another friend with a truck and asked the same question. He never returned my call.

Friendships. Really comfortable friends are golden. I didn't always need my friend to help me in my chores. More often than not, we needed each other for fun and adventures and to share a laugh with. We didn't hafta pencil each other in a month in advance. We were instead, the ever-ready spontaneous friend who was always available for fun.

He will always live in my heart.

And I miss him.

Especially today.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Sister, my hero.

Photo by J. Andres Vargas

My sister just ran 233.6 total km covered over six days. A total of 33,800 ft of elevation was climbed and it was calculated that she burned over 30,000 calories.

She ran through the jungles and rainforest of Costa Rica, along mountain trails, single track across ridgelines and coastal ranges. She's 50 years old and came in 3rd place among the women.

She is amazing.

She wrote this to us:

I just finished my second day and I am now in 3rd place. The heat and humidity is staggering. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. It is also the most incredible thing I have ever done. What can I say about the first two days? Heat, humidity, mud, snakes, swamp, lots of no trails. Just straight up the rainforest. At times it is a little scary, but it is simply amazing. I told one of the race directors today, that if I died after this race, it would be okay. My life would be complete. It rained alot yesterday and the humidity was horrible. We got up at 330 am today and the heat and humidity was horrible. It is like being in a steam room 24-7. This race is not for everyone, that is for sure. It is hard to stay organized and putting the tent up in the pouring rain is quite comical.

I miss you all. Mom, please don´t worry about me. I am having the time of my life. Tomorrow is a very hard day. It is hard to imagine running in this terrain again. I am feeling good though. The people here are great. Matt is rafting down a river today and I hope he is having fun. I love you Caleb, Chelsea, and Courtney. Hi Angie, Wally, Tyler and Kate! Hi Shawn, and Mom!! I say your notes today. Thankyou they really help. They made me almost cry. I love you all and can´t wait to tell you all about this incredible adventure.

and this:

well, the race is over and i am so happy to be finished with this adventure. the coastal challenge was the hardest race i have ever done. they didn't tell us that we would be swimming and bouldering, and running up steep muddy rainforest trails. actually they were not trails, we had to navigate straight up through the jungle looking for course markers. the heat and humidity was outrageous. we saw snakes, alligators, and lots of monkeys. they kept telling us that they had plenty of anti-venom in case we got bit by a snake. that was reasurring. one day we swam for 2 hours through a large river with our packs on before running for 7 hours more. on that day, i ran alone for 8 hours in the rainforest. it was exciting and exhausting all at the same time. camping in the middle of nowhere is interesting too. there was no downtime and the spiders in our make-shift cold showers were as big as softballs. i came in 3rd. the two women who beat me are in the 30s, so i can't complain. if you thought i was skinny before, well baby, look at me now!! wow, what 6 days in the jungle does to the bod!! thanks everyone for all the support. i love you all.


Kelly is my hero. I know she can do anything. Brenda says she can be in the Green Berets. I think she could be in the Pony Express. (If they still had the Pony Express). Kelly truly believes in mind over matter. I started to wonder what has been my great challenges in my life have been. I know we all have them.

I have always been a great believer in listening to what makes our heart sing with joy. Finding exactly where our inspiration lives and then moving forward towards it. If you open your heart you will hear something that is devinely right for you... and life-fulfilling. Kelly has found that. So have I in a different way.

I have found it in my art.

We can spend endless hours in what brings our heart joy. That's when you know you have found it.

You can read more about my sister on her blog here.